Madera chapel owner booked for fraud

Madera chapel owner booked for fraud

The owner of a Madera chapel was arrested for fraud last Thursday, April 16.

According to the Madera Sheriff’s office, Sharlane Ann Smith, 47 of Clovis, has been charged with 25 counts of presenting false claims. Smith, co-owner of Smith Manor Grace Chapel, is alleged to have intentionally over charged the Madera County Coroner’s Service, and was brought in after a weeks-long investigation.

Sharlane Ann Smith booking photo, Madera County

Sharlane Ann Smith booking photo, Madera County

The investigation resulted in a search warrant on the chapel issued on Tuesday, March 31. Interviews were done with the chapel’s employees, but no other arrests have been made, and no one else has been implicated in the investigation.

“This case is particularly troubling due to the blatant theft and violation of trust by the vendor, as well as how long they were able to continue this deception, despite monthly review of the billings by staff members.  We will be reviewing this process and implementing safeguards to prevent future abuse of this kind” said Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney, after being asked to comment on the incident.

The department stated that Smith held the County’s coroner services since 2007, and been responsible for transportation, storage, autopsy facilities, and dispositions of deceased persons. The evidence uncovered in the search revealed that Smith was intentionally adding charges for services not provided. Following her arrest, Smith Manor will no longer provide services to Madera County, as their contract has been made null and void. Their previous duties have been reassigned to other local businesses, so there should be no interruption in services, according to the department.

Sharlene Smith’s bail was set at $125,000.00.

Madera chapel owner booked for fraud was last modified: April 23rd, 2015 by admin
Categories: Madera

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